6WH: Week 3 – Nazis. I hate these guys.

Nazis have long been cinematic shorthand for evil (even before the U.S. entered WWII), and horror movies are a natural arena for their villainy (as are video games). Their known dabbling with the occult, while most likely sensationalized, also plays well into the hands of genre fiction. I’d say that this sort of thing is actually overplayed, but apparently Nazis are attempting a comeback these days, which is just bizarre. As a dedicated defender of free speech, it’s always a bit frustrating to see these numskulls abuse our freedoms, but at least we know they’re there and can counter them. Despite breathless media reports, I suspect their presence is still minuscule and they’re certainly as ridiculed as ever, but then, this is small comfort to folks who’ve been directly impacted. In the immortal words of Indiana Jones: “Nazis. I hate these guys.” So let’s take some time this Six Weeks of Halloween to enjoy watching Nazis (sometimes Nazi zombies, sure, but still) get slaughtered by the bushel.

  • The Simpsons: Treehouse of Horror III: Dial Z for Zombie
  • White Zombies (Key and Peele)
  • Outpost (trailer)
  • Shock Waves – A sparsely populated pleasure cruise stumbles on a mysterious island and crashes into an old shipwreck. They seek refuge in a rundown island hotel, only to be attacked by water-logged Nazi zombies. Pretty basic stuff, and unfortunately, as a PG movie, we don’t even get any Fulci-esque eye-gouging gags or even decapitated zombie heads or any gore whatsoever, actually. This isn’t always a necessity, but gore is zombie bread-and-butter, so to see that eschewed here is disappointing, especially when there’s basically nothing to the plot. That said, this movie has at least some charm to coast on… The Nazi angle is nice. Both John Carradine and Peter Cushing show up, if only for a short period (their screen time probably maxed out at 10 minutes combined). The rest of the cast seems on board as well. Jack Davidson is entertainingly bitchy and Brooke Adams does a decent final girl impersonation. The visuals are well done and the Nazi zombies look fantastic.
    Shock Waves

    They were specially bred to be underwater soldiers, so they’ve got these fabulous goggles and the way they tend to fade into view or slowly rise out of the water (and slink back into the water) is effective. But only for, like, the first 30 times or so that we see it. After that it gets a little repetitive and it’s like, come on you dumb zombies, start pulling out people’s intestines or something. There’s some good underwater photography (a solid long-ish take follows one zombie as he walks along for a solid minute, and it’s a wide enough shot that it at least feels like they actually got some dude to hold his breath for a while). Still, the pace drags considerably throughout the movie, something most zombie movies resolve with frequent doses of gore. Look, I know this sort of begging for gore is unbecoming and doesn’t really speak well of me, but what I’m really after is pacing and fun. As already mentioned, this doesn’t need to come from gore, but you’ve got to do something. Ultimately, though, this is a story filled with bloodless kills (and not in a suspenseful, Hitchcockian way either) and not a whole lot of plot. Hell, we don’t even really get to see the Nazi zombies get slaughtered (a couple die, but in rather unspectacular fashion.) It could have been a lot worse, but it could have been oh so much more. **

  • The Netherbeast of Berm-Tech Industries, Inc. (Short)
  • Hitler Reacts to Wolfenstein 3D (short)
  • Werewolf Women of the S.S. (fake trailer – extended edition)
  • The Devil’s Rock – Two Kiwi commandos sent to destroy German gun emplacements find that our Nazi friends have summoned a demon. First off, kudos for a Nazi horror movie that doesn’t involve zombies! Of course, that doesn’t make the premise all that original; soldiers investigate enemy base and discover creepy occult stuff is a well worn sub-genre. Still, this has lots of things to recommend it. It quickly resolves into a chamber piece and does an admirable job maintaining suspicion across all three of the main players. I mean, yeah, the demon is obviously not to be trusted, and there is a clear hero, but the Nazi villain is surprisingly convincing at times and the film manages generate a modicum of sympathy even for him.
    Demons do not like Nazis

    I also found it amusing that the demon’s main argument is basically: “But he’s a Nazi!” Which, frankly, is pretty convincing. I mean sure, she butchered an entire garrison of soldiers… but they were Nazis. Even demons find them shitty. There’s some nice historical touches and some subtle references (the Nazi mentions how close Hitler’s forces got to the Ark of the Covenant as well as their near success in raising the Old Ones, references to Raiders of the Lost Ark and Hellboy, respectively). While clearly low budget, it still looks pretty good and is generally well appointed. Well worth checking out. ***

  • A Story With Zombies (short story)
  • Honest Zombie (Robot Chicken)
  • Dead Snow (trailer)
  • Dead Snow 2: Red vs. Dead – Nazi zombies remain on a rampage. After securing the Nazi gold that brought them back to life, it seems our Nazi zombie leader has taken up arms (literally!) and seeks to complete his mission to sack some nearby town. Opposing him is Martin (Vegar Hoel), lone survivor of the first movie, who recruits a trio of American zombie enthusiasts (the always great Martin Starr along with the plucky Jocelyn DeBoer and Ingrid Haas) and, well, a band of Russian zombies.
    Nazi Zombies

    The first movie took its time to get going and had some weird tonal issues, but this one just picks up the loopy pace from the end of the first movie and maintains it throughout. The goofiness is still out in full force and the tone is consistently comedic. Doctors inadvertently sew a zombie arm onto our protagonist, which then gives him mystical zombie powers. Oh, and the head zombie now has the ability to raise others from the dead. It’s silly, sure, but then again, this is a movie where zombies take someone’s intestines and use them to siphon gas from a bus to a tank. Oh yeah, the zombies have a tank now. It’s all in good fun if you’re willing to go with it, and there’s lots of decent gore effects and creative kills, which would probably make this a great crowd-pleaser (which is a shame, because I’m pretty sure this didn’t get much of a release here)… A solid little zombie film,

    well worth checking out. **1/2

That about wraps up this week in hating Nazis. Coming soon: Video Nasties! Found Footage! And moar! Stay tuned.

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